News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alberta shifts slightly to the left

The two by-elections in Alberta saw the overwhelmingly Tory province shift slightly to the left yesterday. Drumheller-Stettler remained solidly Progressive Conservative, which was no surprise in a riding that typically votes Tory by a margin of 6/7-1. The former seat of outgoing Premier Ralph Klein was a different story. Calgary Elbow was already the Calgary riding with the 4th highest Liberal vote, the top three already having Liberal representatives in Edmonton. Now the Alberta Liberals have a fourth, winning by a narrow 800 vote margin on a low turnout of arounf 35%.

That said, it wasn't the drubbing that political pundits had predicted. They had suggested that this would be an "ederendum" on the new Premier, Ed Stalmach. The Alberta Liberals are crowing over their gain, but didn't match the kind of by-election performance that we have come to expect from British Liberal Democrats. In fact, even the Liberals saw their vote decline. The only party which could celebrate winning additional votes compared to the 2004 general election was Social Credit, the former governing party which managed to move above the 100 vote benchmark. Hardly impressive.

All in all, it's a wake up call to the PCs. Calgary's not that happy. But it's still not happy enough to vote for anyone else, so there's time to make up before the next election, expected in Spring 2008.

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